Paraquat Parkinson's Disease Lawsuit

At Levin Simes Abrams, we have decades of trial experience, including leading national litigations, and helping those affected by Roundup. We are here to assist with expert legal counsel for those who are currently suffering from Parkinson’s disease due to the effects of prolonged paraquat exposure. Find out more about how we can help by calling us today at (888) 426-4156 or emailing [email protected]

What is Paraquat?

Paraquat, or paraquat dichloride, is an ammonium herbicide used as a weed control and harvest aid. It is popular in the United States despite being banned in at least 30 countries. Paraquat causes direct damage when it comes into contact with the lining of the mouth, stomach, or intestines. Paraquat’s toxicity can also cause severe damage to the eyes and lungs, as well as to major organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. In addition to short term serious disease and death from large exposures, both exposures large and small are now being linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Paraquat Linked with Parkinson’s Disease

Paraquat has been linked with the development of Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disease of the nervous system that causes progressive nerve damage. Read below for more information on the history of Paraquat use in the United States, and the effects of Paraquat exposure, and information on the studies linking Paraquat with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s Disease Law Firm

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after exposure to Paraquat, or Paraquat plus Maneb, please contact the lawyers here at Levin Simes Abrams. We are a national law firm with experience with herbicide exposure lawsuits, having represented those affected by Roundup, and are a national law firm. Contact a Paraquat lawyer at 415-426-3000 or [email protected], or contact us through this page.

How Does Paraquat Work?

Paraquat dichloride is a quaternary ammonium herbicide whose primary mode of action is the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in chloroplasts in plants. The stress causes the cell death in the plant.

In humans and animals, ROS also can occur causing severe tissue injury or death even with a relatively mild dosage. Systematic tissue damage and death can occur even in body sites or organs far away from the initial exposure. Paraquat erodes protective barriers and attacks the respiratory system.

Who is Most Affected by Paraquat?

Due to paraquat spray frequently dispersing off from the original location it is sprayed, many people can be affected by it, even those not directly working with the herbicide. Common jobs with sources of exposure include:

  • Herbicide applicators
  • Chemical mixers
  • Tank fillers
  • Families living near farms
  • Farmers
  • Farmworkers

Paraquat Usage in the US

• Paraquat was first produced in 1961 and was first registered in 1964 in the US for weed control and crop desiccation; however, it is categorized as highly toxic through all routes of exposure by the EPA. However, it still remains one of the most popular herbicides on the market.
• As paraquat is highly toxic, it is only available in the United States for commercially licensed users. Other toxic herbicides like Roundup, now linked with cancer, are available both commercially and to regular consumers.

Recent History of Paraquat-Related Health Concerns in the US

• In 2011, the Environmental Health Perspectives journal published a study stating Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease are “positively associated.”
• In 2012, the Journal of Movement Disorders publishes a study that indicates some individuals might be over 10 times as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease if they are exposed to paraquat and have certain genetic variations.
• In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces it will further explore the growing evidence of the larger health risks associated with paraquat usage and exposure. The Nature Chemical Biology journal publishes a study that same year on the possible mechanism of how paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease by causing oxidative stress, a known factor in the development of the disease.
• In 2017, the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council strongly urges the EPA to remove paraquat from the US market by denying re-registration of the herbicide.
• Most recently, The Protect Against Paraquat Act of 2019 was introduced into Congress — if passed it would attempt to protect workers from developing Parkinson’s disease by removing paraquat from the US market as a herbicide.

What are the Symptoms of Paraquat Exposure?

• After ingesting significant amounts of paraquat you may experience pain, and swelling of the throat and mouth. Nausea, vomiting, internal pain and bloody diarrhea may follow.
• Exposure to paraquat can occur from swallowing (if another item such as water was contaminated), from skin exposure (where unprotected skin comes into contact with liquid or sprayed paraquat herbicide), and if paraquat is ingested through the mouth and lungs after being sprayed.
• After ingesting large or small amounts of paraquat, compounding effects can include heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure and permanent lung damage including scarring.

Long-Term Effects of Paraquat Exposure

• Long term effects on the kidneys, lungs, and liver can occur from paraquat exposure. Long term exposure need not only be from direct ingestion, prolonged open skin contact and inhaling it through droplets can allow exposure to occur for someone who uses it in commercial and industrial settings over the long term.
• Conditions over time can include elevated heart rates, permanent heart damage, liver damage and liver failure, acute kidney failure, seizures, respiratory failure, pulmonary edema, inducing confusion or coma.
• The development of Parkinson’s disease due to paraquat exposure — Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that can quickly or slowly develop.
• Parkinson’s disease would not be an immediate result of exposure, but would occur over time after the initial exposure as the paraquat damage progresses.

Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease

• In addition to disease and death from organ damage from exposure, the long term health effects of paraquat also include developing Parkinson’s disease.
• Parkinson’s Disease is a nervous system disorder that is progressive, developing stronger and stronger symptoms and effects over time. Symptoms can start gradually, a common first symptom and sign is a tremor in one hand.
• Parkinson’s disease can include symptoms such as tremors, slowed movement, muscle stiffness, limited range of motion, unsteady balance or gait, loss of unconscious movement (such as the swinging of arms when walking), and changes to speech and writing ability and functionality.

EPA Review of Paraquat

In June of 2019, the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention released a memorandum on paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. In the memo, 26 studies were reviewed and ranked from high quality to low quality on the effects on humans. Another 11 were reviewed for effects in animals, and 34 for effects in tissue. For more in-depth information, read the EPA’s review of the relationship between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.

Paraquat Parkinson's disease occupational studies, grouped by quality rating (EPA) - Paraquat Lawsuit

Paraquat Parkinson's disease population odds ratio studies, grouped by quality rating (EPA) - Paraquat lawyer

Pesticide Products Containing Paraquat

Since first introduced in the US, paraquat-based products have been sold under a variety of brand names, including:

  • Gramoxone SL 2.0®
  • Blanco®
  • Cyclone SL 2.0®
  • Firestorm®
  • Helmquat 3SL®
  • Paraquat Concentrate®
  • Bonedry®
  • Devour®
  • Para-Shot 3.0®
  • Willowwood Paraquat 3 SL®

At least 32 countries entirely banned the use of the herbicide due to the elevated risk of Parkinson’s disease, however, usage in the US has not been halted. As a result of the continued placement of this dangerous product on the US market, financial compensation may be available to those who’ve faced paraquat-related illness.

Are you or a loved one now suffering from Parkinson’s disease due to paraquat exposure?

Please contact Levin Simes Abrams today at (888) 426-4156 or at [email protected]